PC Users Struck by Dean, but How?

Dennis Faas's picture

We here at Infopackets have taken a few good looks at the 'Storm' Trojan virus, a bug that has been infecting unfortunate PC owners since the beginning of 2007. Now, speculation is that the Storm will take advantage of, well, the storm, capitalizing upon the public's interest in Hurricane Dean.

This is fair warning.

Although Dean is now tailing off in power as it ravages Mexico, it nonetheless remains a fairly popular news story. Its line of destruction in crossing the Caribbean captivated many of us, perhaps because of family links or vacation destinations. Regardless, we care, and it's playing right into the hands of malware goons.

Betcha didn't know...

The Storm virus, otherwise known as Peacomm, actually began life by offering news on a series of powerful wind storms that caused some significant damage to our friends across the pond.  One report went so far as to proclaim, "230 dead as storm batters Europe".

The catch?

None of it was true, and those who bought in were put at risk by malware attached to the fake news.

True, no link between the Storm Trojan or Hurricane Dean has yet been made, but Symantec Corp. researchers are convinced it's only a matter of time. Alfred Huger, vice president of engineering for the company's security response group recently stated, "We expect [Storm] to again come on the back of big news items," and that could mean Dean. "As Dean lash[es] the areas around the Gulf of Mexico, don't be surprised to get emails about damage or death caused in its wake," Huger said. (source: pcworld.com)

Okay, so maybe Symantec is pushing it a bit. Dean is dying off every second as it passes over mainland Mexico, and may no longer be a story by early next week. However, the heart of the message remains this: don't just be critical of the news you read, be critical of its source and even medium. Make sure you're familiar with the email sender, and always be wary of attachments.

Finally, although Hurricane Dean is petering out, Storm, aka Peacomm, is not. Symantec reports a new variation of the virus, Peacomm.c, is now in circulation. Storm is now slamming into consumers through the promise of membership in various clubs, so careful joining that "Ping Pong Players Unite!" group you thought sounded so great. (source: channelregister.co.uk)

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